An official website of the United States government.

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Bringing Microbiology and Water Quality to Arizona Classrooms: Workforce Development through Teacher Training

Schwartz, Kerry
University of Arizona
Start date
End date
Agricultural science should be a rich field of instruction for all science teachers. It connects major fields of study including biology, chemistry, soil science, physics and engineering, to name but a few, around a real-world and essential endeavor: feeding the World's growing population. Yet agricultural education currently reaches only a small portion of high school students, in part because secondary school teachers lack the essential knowledge and experience to teach this subject. This PD-STEP project aims to bring agricultural education to mainstream high school science teachers and students through an engaging project-based learning approach associated with recent foodborne outbreaks of enteric disease in fresh produce. In effect, this project will train teachers in laboratory techniques that will be used to identify the source of a mock foodborne outbreak. This exciting, hands-on encounter with state-of-the-art microbiology and molecular biology techniques will function to bridge the gap between research laboratories and secondary schools, thus addressing a primary objective of the AFRI Education and Workforce Development program, "to promote faculty expertise and encourage widespread implementation of educational innovation at the K-14 levels in the food and agricultural sciences." The proposed project will offer real-world experience to teachers, who will in turn bring this knowledge into their classrooms, engaging students in a STEM-based agricultural science learning experience that includes both traditional methods and the field of modern molecular microbiology. In this way, we are addressing the AFRI EWD A7501 Program which has the overarching goal of enhancing agricultural literacy. The proposed coordinated education and extension project will encompass immersive learning experiences that will enhance student interest and success in the agricultural sciences.The Overall Goal of the proposed work is to deliver a highly impactful, applied microbiology experience and curriculum to high school teachers that will in turn stimulate classroom activities to advance students' interest in, and knowledge of, agricultural systems and fresh produce safety.Objectives include:Objective 1. Develop short course, curriculum unit, and laboratory training manual.Objective 2. Train the trainer short course for Arizona Project WET facilitators/educators.Objective 3. Deliver professional development, including agricultural science curriculum and laboratory modules, to 10 high school teachers.Objective 4. Teachers teach the project-based learning curriculum unit with lab experiences to at least 300 high school students.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
Accession number
Sanitation and Quality Standards